Interview of FIDE Deputy President given to Sport Express Print
Thursday, 09 June 2005 00:00
FIDE is publishing the English translation of the recent interview given by FIDE Deputy President Georgios Makropoulos to journalist Yuri Vassiliev of the Russian newspaper Sport Express. We would like to correct a few points, which were probably interpreted in a wrong way due to translation problems during the interview. Read the Interview and corrections to it.

FIDE is publishing the English translation of the recent interview given by FIDE Deputy President Makropoulos to journalist Yuri Vassiliev of the Russian newspaper Sport Express.

We would like to correct a few points, which were probably interpreted in a wrong way due to translation problems during the interview:

1. Concerning GM Kramnik`s proposal for a possible future match between him and the World Champion, Mr Makropoulos clearly stated that FIDE has no possibility to force the World Champion (and not "make" or "ask" as published elsewhere) to play against GM Kramnik.

2. Concerning the prize fund of the new World Championship cycle, the correct saying of Mr Makropoulos was that FIDE will attract USD 5,000,000 during the next two years for the whole cycles of both men`s and women`s world championships (and not only for the Continental Championships and FIDE World Cup as actually written).

3. Concerning the next elections of FIDE in Turin 2006, Mr Makropoulos actually said that he cannot see any candidate able to beat the current President, Mr Kirsan Ilyumzhinov, and he will really be surprised if such a candidate actually wins those elections. The written text mistakenly states that Mr Makropoulos doesn`t see at all any candidates running for the office of FIDE President.


Georgios Makropoulos

The fact that we are talking to the FIDE Deputy President Georgios Makropoulos is of a great value because he has irrefragable information on the FIDE plans in respect of the organization of the World Championship Match. Shortly before our conversation at the bar of the "Grand Hotel Sofia", that we had after the Closing Ceremony of Sofia Super tournament, he had held a closed meeting with Viswanathan Anand, Michael Adams, Veselin Topalov and Judit Polgar who will compete for the title of the World Chess Champion in Argentina this September together with Rustam Kasimdzhanov, Peter Leko, Alexander Morozevich and Peter Svidler. The World Chess Championship was the main issue that I was very interested in. However, I started our conversation by talking about the main sensation of this year – retirement of Garry Kasparov from professional chess.


- Mr. Deputy President, do you agree that since Garry Kasparov left professional chess, the interest towards this sport in the world will go down for some time? Such disappointments are inevitable when some remarkable personality leaves this or that kind of sport that he or she personified. For example, Michael Jordan was such a personality in basketball. Pele - in football. Kasparov - in chess…

- When such a player leaves chess, moreover, the one who has not yet done everything that he could have, we all get into trance for some time. I agree that the chess world lost its great hero. But one has to try to understand him, because he is starting a new life now. It would have been wrong if the chess world demanded from him: "More! More! More!" If Kasparov decided that he had more important things to do, I think we have to thank him for what he has been for us all these years and to wish him a success.
In my opinion, we owe to this great sportsman and artist for his outstanding works of chess art. Many generations of chess players have and will study the chess art from them. Hundred thousands of amateurs have enjoyed them all over the world.
FIDE, as an International Organization, also owes to Garry due to his immense contribution into the chess treasury.

- Would you like Kasparov to come back?

- If we like him, as I personally do for example, and wish him only good, then we have to forbid ourselves even to think about undertaking anything for his return. Certainly, in case if he is ok in his new walk of life. However, if Garry decides that it is better for him to come back, we shall be happy.


- Doesn’t it seem to you that the list of the chess players who received invitations from FIDE to participate in the World Championship in Argentina has some drawbacks? It is missing those who have the right to compete for the highest title: Vassily Ivanchuk, Alexey Shirov and Ruslan Ponomariov...

- As for Ponomariov, he had an opportunity to play the match with Kasparov but he had neglected it. Having mentioned the names of Ivanchuk and Shirov, you have really touched upon our problematic issues. Do you think that we do not understand that once Shirov qualified to play the match against Kasparov and was simply kicked out from that cycle? But what to do if at the moment when the decision about this tournament in Argentina was being taken, the rating of Alexey went so low that he did not qualify to be one of those strongest eight players? We are also very sorry that such a strong chess player as Ivanchuk, who is now brilliantly performing in other tournaments, will not compete there.

However, we followed the system that was accepted in FIDE in 1997. It would have been wrong to change anything because it would look as if we wanted to skip some and to miss others. In that case, Alexander Morozevich would have been out of this Championship and would have his own reasons to criticize. And now none of the chess players have reasons to put the qualification system for the tournament in Argentina under question.


- What title will a winner in San Luis tournament get?

- World Champion. And none should object. Everything has been undertaken with the target to gather the strongest chess players who will reveal a new and recognized by all World Champion in this struggle.

The Prague Agreement makes no sense after Kasparov’s retirement. It was intended to get Kasparov interested in playing in the World Championship. And they came not from Kramnik’s side but from Kasparov’s. It is significant that Kramnik said in his interviews after the Match in Brissago: Prague Agreement does not work any more, because FIDE has not fulfilled anything that was promised in May 2002 in Prague. He stated quite clear that he had no intention to play either with Kasparov or Kasimdzhanov.

Unfortunately, some strong players did not participate in the World Championship in Tripoli. Before to start a new cycle of World Championship we had to find a solution for the established situation. And we did find. Probably it is not ideal but in the situation we have now we saw no other solution.

- When the Presidential Board Meeting in Tbilisi took the decision on organizing a tournament of eight players, it was easy to assume that neither Kasparov nor Kramnik will participate in it. Taking it into account, was it possible to improve the scheme of the Unification Match?

- Kasparov declared his retirement later. We officially requested the Russian Chess Federation to assist with participation of Kramnik. The reaction was negative. We were replied as if we had never informed Kramnik on our plans and actions. It is not true. We sent faxes twice to the Russian Chess Federation. The Executive Director of RCF Mr. Bakh gave us the fax number of Kramnik, which turned out to be the personal fax number of Mr. Bakh himself. We sent the relevant information to this fax number as well.

The Manager of Kramnik and Leko Mr. Hensel confirmed that he received our proposals. That means that Kramnik was informed. Unfortunately, there are people who are interested in driving a wedge between Kramnik and FIDE, between Russian Chess Federation and World Chess Federation.


- What was the reaction of FIDE on Vladimir Kramnik’s proposal to hold a match between him and the winner of the tournament in San Luis?

- I have stated several times and we discussed this with the players. I can repeat that Argentina tournament is not qualifying, it is the World Championship. Kramnik took the decision not to play in Argentina and we have no possibility to make our Champion to play against him.

- And what if the Grandmaster, who will win the Argentina Championship, and Kramnik will agree to play a Match against one another?

- It is not possible. All participants of the World Championship have signed the Player’s Undertaking (as FIDE lawyers name it) and according to it they have no right to participate in any other cycles except FIDE during the next two years. Before the World Cup in which 128 players will take part, all of them will sign the similar Undertaking.

- Do these obligations have legal effect?

- Yes, they do.

- And you mean that if the winner of the Argentina tournament decides to participate in the Match against Kramnik you will sue him and will win the case?

- All the players sincerely agreed with the obligations they were proposed to sign and this is much more important for me.

- Aren’t you afraid of the split between the Classic Chess Champion and FIDE?

- We see no such preconditions. All players are informed on the project of the World Cycle Championship and agreed to take part in it. And of course Kramink is the most welcomed participant.


- How will a new World Champion qualified from the Argentina tournament join the forthcoming World Cycle Championship?

- After Continental Championships, World Cup of knock out system will be held in December this year. 128 players will take part in it. First five will get the right to participate in the qualifying matches. After the World Cup a round robin Super Tournament will be organized, 10 players will be invited to take part in it. We name this tournament as the Last Chance Tournament. The three best will be qualified. So we have 8 qualifiers – five after the World Cup and three after the Last Chance Tournament. The players who take the third and the fourth places in the Argentina Tournament will join them. Five matches will be held for these ten qualifiers and five of them will be recognized. The one who will take the second place in Argentina will join them. These six players will play in the quarterfinal. The Champion will join the three strongest.

- Does it mean that a new World Champion, winner of the Argentina Tournament, will enter the field at the stage of semi-final?

- Yes, it does.


- It reminded me on the one FIDE project of 10 years old. When the World Champion Anatoly Karpov started playing on the Semi-Final stage, he played against Gata Kamsky in the Final match and won the Champion Title. It looks like FIDE came back to the 10 year-old system?

- FIDE is trying to find a compromise with the leading players. We offer players a system that makes them more or less satisfied.

- Which time control will make all players "more or less satisfied" in FIDE’s opinion?

- The World Cup, I repeat, will be a knockout tournament – 90 minutes per move, FIDE time control, which was used in the Knockout championships before. And the Candidates matches, Super tournament and World Chess Championship Match will be held with 7 hours time-control.

- What is the prize fund of the new World Chess Championship Cycle?

- FIDE will attract about 5 million dollars only for the Continental Championships and FIDE World Cup within the period of 2 years. I would like to emphasize that this money is not from Kirsan Ilyumzhinov’s pocket, it will be earned owing to our elaborated work.

- As per your point of view how long will this World Championship Cycle system work?

- We want it to function as long as possible. So that all strong players will be satisfied and each chess player with ambitious plans could have a chance to see them fulfilled. We don’t want wars and confrontations. We work for the close contacts with the strongest national federations and first of all with the Russian Chess Federation. I hope that one day we shall meet with the President of the Russian Chess Federation Mr. Zhukov. It would be helpful not only for FIDE, but also for Russian chess.


- What is your opinion in respect of the new rules that were applied during the Super tournament in Sofia? Is it possible to do the same in the official FIDE events?

- These rules are quite positive, I liked them. I hope that some time we will add them to our armory and use in our official tournaments. However, one should realize that commercial tournaments and official tournaments under FIDE auspices are different things. An organizer of the commercial tournament could include into the Player’s Undertaking whatever he would like to, and FIDE is deprived of this kind of opportunities. We represent not only 6 top Grandmaster who participated in Sofia tournament, but many thousands of other chess players. Therefore the new regulations’ implementation requires FIDE’s consultation with all National federations and players. This is quite a serious matter and could be considered not sooner than at the FIDE Congress in 2008.


- What prognosis do you have on the Election Congress, which will take place during the World Chess Olympiad 2006 in Turin next year?

- I don’t see any candidatures for the FIDE President’s position except for Kirsan Ilyumzhinov. I would be really surprised if there are any. However, I can bet that this will not happen. Kirsan is the only President in the history of FIDE who has spent a lot of money for chess. No matter what they say or write about him, everyone is well aware that this person has contributed a lot to chess activities.

- Maybe because of the fact that everyone being aware of this criticizes not him but you, Mr. Makropoulos?

- (Laughing) Not only because of this. Our enemies see that we have very harmonious and united team. This is a group of about 15 active people who represent many national federations. In order to break our team ill wishers attack me. But they will not succeed!

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